Numbering and bullets in Word docs keep disappearing

New Contributor

When working as a team on Word files within SharePoint, I constantly have problems with things like heading numbering disappearing (or changing from numbers to bullets), bullets going missing or bullets turning into numbers. From what I can see, the custom list styles in the documents go missing. Other formatting things happen, like table column widths messing up. I can fix it all, PDF it, save and close, and when I open the Word doc again it's all gone haywire once more.

I was always approaching this from a Word bug perspective, but maybe it's something I'm doing wrong in regard to SharePoint. Essentially, this is my workflow:
1. Create Word template.
2. Create documents from Word template (bid response schedules, one for each).
3. Upload all files to SharePoint.

At this point, the template resides on my computer, in my OneDrive folder. As I understand it, this shouldn't be an issue because unless people play around with what template the document is linked to, it shouldn't change. However, often I found that the template had reverted back to "Normal". So, I started saving the template in a location on SharePoint (along with the documents) and making sure it was linked to it.

When the document styles go haywire, to fix it all I need to do is link back to the template and update the styles. I have a macro that has the location of the template hard coded, and it links the document to the template, updates the styles, then turns off the checkbox again. (Note: I always make sure the "update styles from template" is kept off). Whether the template is on my computer or on SharePoint, once the styles start messing up they will continue to keep messing up, so putting the template on SharePoint doesn't seem to have fixed it.

I'm outlining this process because all the forum posts I've found seem to treat SharePoint more as a space where templates are uploaded and people use the "New" button to create and then save documents straight into SharePoint from Templates that are uploaded into the site library. This is obviously not how we are using it: these Teams sites are created per project, we do our submission and then move on. I'm the only one creating documents and other people contribute to them.

Is there something I'm doing fundamentally wrong and that's why these issues happen? If not, has anyone seen this issue and worked out what causes it?

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